Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP)

Legacy Department

City and Regional Planning

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dunning, Anne E

Committee Member

Nocks , Barry C

Committee Member

Dyckman , Caitlin S


Although sustainable frameworks for transportation have been widely discussed in the transportation planning field in recent decades, the issue of equity in transportation systems is still relatively unexplored in comparison to the other pillars of sustainability. Globally, the concept of equity gains different nuances in developed and developing countries, and have yet new implications when considering fast emerging nations. The objective of this paper is to investigate how transit policies in fast emerging economies are used to distribute equitable access to benefits and opportunities; and to derive lessons that can orient future cohorts of emerging cities and countries to use transit as means to provide equitable improvements in accessibility.
Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries) have been treated as a unit since the turn of the millennium when economic analysts noticed similar patterns of extraordinary productivity and growth, and are the forerunners of a group of nations expected to become major economic actors on the global stage in a few decades. Case studies on the most populous and prominent metropolises of the BRIC countries were conducted, exploring three aspects of transit systems as they impact equity: system ownership and planning processes; mode predominance and choices; and fare structures and collection methods. Sao Paulo, Moscow, Mumbai and Shanghai were selected as case studies subjects because of their location in those fast emerging nations and because of their status as recognized global cities.
This investigation revealed emerging nations are trying to equip their transit systems to deal with the pressures of growing population size and density, rising incomes, increasing rates of private automobile ownership and sprawling land use patterns. In order to cope with this new and fast changing environment, subjects sought to engage in long-range transportation planning, partnered with private entities for the provision of capital investment or operations, acted to strengthen (or implement) heavy rail as the anchor-mode, and moved towards automated fare collection methods. Lessons derived from these cities will serve to provide guidelines to equitable transit programs in fast emerging cities across the developed world that facing similar pressures, and to orient future research towards more complete economic efficiency evaluations of transit systems in emerging countries.



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